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Salares Norte Andes high altitude power project

Hybrid power solution to reduce costs and emissions for a gold mine in the Andes mountains

Client: Gold Fields Salares Norte Mine

Location: Atacama region of Northern Chile Altitude: 4,500 m

Sectors: Mining

The Challenge

Providing reliable power at extreme conditions

Following on from Aggreko’s successful work at the Gold Fields’ Granny Smith mine in Western Australia, where we created one of the largest renewable micro-grid projects in the world, we will work to provide a unique and market-leading hybrid power solution for a new Gold Fields’ open pit mine in Chile, Latin America.

The Salares Norte Mine, a green field project located in Northern Chile, presents unique conditions. The open-pit gold mine sits at an altitude of 4,500 m in the Andes mountain range, 190 km from the nearest town, and is not connected to any local power grid systems, making logistics and operations challenging from the start. To meet the challenges of providing a consistent power supply and doing so in such extreme conditions, using a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not an option. Aggreko is working from the ground up to develop a completely customized diesel-solar hybrid solution, implementing high altitude performance gensets and a solar power solution optimized for off-grid applications and harsh environmental conditions.

In addition to these physical challenges, the Chilean government applies stringent environmental regulations to such projects, with Gold Fields further requiring a minimum 20% renewable power generation for all mining operations as a corporate objective. As such, the finished solution must work to minimize carbon emissions while delivering reliable power for the mine.

Key Facts

of diesel 16MW
of Solar PV 9.9MW
cost of energy savings $7.4m

of carbon tax savings

of reduced emissions

Salares Norte Andes high altitude power project

The Solution

A tailor-made hybrid power solution featuring Aggreko’s largest Solar PV installation in Latin America - 16 MW of diesel + 9.9 MW of Solar PV

To meet the unique demands and requirements of the mine, which at full capacity will produce an average of 450,000 oz of gold per year, we will develop an equally ambitious and market-leading solution.

To improve the cost of energy and reduce environmental footprint, Aggreko will also install 9.9 MW of solar PV capacity. While the site and its unique geography lends itself to solar PV power, the altitude and extreme wind conditions will call for specially designed units.

To ensure energy reliability at all five generation points, Aggreko will supply high altitude performance diesel gensets. Each genset will deliver 772 kW at 4,500 m altitude. First, we will deliver early construction power and subsequently deliver the hybrid solution that will be the sole source of power for the mine.

The Impact

$1.1 Million of carbon tax savings of reduced emissions. $7.4 Million cost of energy savings across 10 years

Ahead of the mine’s official opening, Aggreko will work as the site’s sole power supplier, delivering a sustainable solution to fulfil the unique needs of the site. The modular, high-altitude-efficient diesel gensets will work to provide reliable power to all generation points at the site, incorporating both Spinning and Cold Reserve units, adding an additional level of security and reliability.

This project is the latest in a number of projects globally where Aggreko has worked hand-in-hand with a range of customers to meet specific demands in unique conditions, and it highlights our commitment to providing innovative solutions that minimize the impact on the environment in which we operate. For this particular project our solution will deliver a total of $1.1 Million of carbon tax savings and cost of energy savings of $7.4 Million across 10 years.

Salares Norte Andes high altitude power project